Sacred Reading

by Beth A Richardson on February 23, 2011 · 26 comments

Post image for Sacred Reading

One of the most central and ancient practices of Christian prayer is lectio divina, literally, divine reading.  In lectio divina, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible.  We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there.

1. Read the scripture slowly. Watch for a key phrase or word that jumps out at you or promises to have special meaning for you.  It is better to dwell profoundly on one word or phrase than to skim the surface of several chapters.

2. Reflect on a word or phrase. Let the special word or phrase that you discovered in the first phase sink into your heart.  Bring mind, will, and emotions to the task.

3.  Respond to what you have read. Form a prayer that expresses your response to the idea, then “pray it back to God.”  What you have read is woven through what you tell God.

4.  Rest in God’s word. Let the text soak into your deepest being, savoring an encounter with God and truth.  When ready, move toward the moment in which you ask God to show you how to live out what you have experienced.

Source: Adapted from “Praying the Scriptures” by Marjorie Thompson in The Meeting God Bible, pp. xv ff. © 1999, 2008 by Upper Room Books.  Used by permission. Learn more about or purchase The Meeting God Bible.

Photo by Beth A. Richardson. This is a photo of Calypso Cascades taken on a September hike up to Ouzel Falls in the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Ingrid Quigley February 23, 2011 at 9:40 am

Thank you for this reminder — to be attentive, to pray, to slow down. I’m “there” as I write these words. Psalm 23 comes to me this day. It’s so much more than a reflection for memorial services. Thank God for the Word, and for the Internet that offers inspiration to me through this and other web sites.

Lucille Tamm March 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm

When my husband was in Kuwait at the end of the first Gulf Was, the doctors and nurses at one hospital he and his team helped, burnt the furniture to make them an evening meal. He went into Kuwait under smoke that blotted out the sun from the well fires. After he came back he realized he had lived the 23 psalm. He went through the valley of the shadow of death and he had a meal set before him, in honor of him, in the city still partially occupied by Republican Guard.

Beth Richardson March 25, 2011 at 8:53 am


What powerful imagery. Thank you for sharing this story about your husband.

Many blessings,

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